From Rams to Vikings: Can the change of scenery revive RB Cam Akers’ NFL career?

The inevitable finally happened for the Los Angeles Rams and running back Cam Akers.

The two teams parted ways on Wednesday, with the Rams trading late-round picks with the Minnesota Vikings to move him forward. The Rams announced they gave up Akers and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2026 draft in exchange for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick.

At Minnesota, Akers joins former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, now head coach of the Vikings, as well as offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, who had worked as tight ends coach for Sean McVay.

The Vikings released Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook as part of a cost-cutting move this offseason and have the NFL’s worst rushing attack through two games, averaging just 34.5 yards per game.

The trade ends what started as a promising relationship between the Rams and their 2020 second-round draft pick out of Florida State.

After a slow start due to a rib injury and acclimation to McVay’s offense, Akers finished his rookie season with 625 yards, including 393 yards and two scores in two playoff games while suffering a neck injury. ankle.

Akers looked poised to become a powerhouse in Los Angeles’ offense, but he suffered a torn Achilles tendon just before training camp his sophomore year. He worked hard to quickly return from his injury in time for the end of the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, but didn’t have the same explosive outburst.

Additionally, the Rams offense was now led by Matthew Stafford’s arm and Cooper Kupp’s ability to create separation, leaving fewer touches for Akers. The reduced role seemed to irritate the running back.

Things came to a head five games into the 2022 season. McVay told Akers to stay home and was scratched in games against the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers for personal and philosophical reasons. Akers requested a trade last year, but the Rams found no takers at the deadline.

Rams and Commanders enter Colin’s Top 10 heading into Week 3

Rams and Commanders enter Colin's Top 10 heading into Week 3

The two sides later worked things out and Akers finished the 2022 season strong. As of Week 13, he led the NFL with 512 rushing yards, including at least 100 yards in each of the final three games of the season.

However, with the emergence of Kyren Williams during offseason work and training camp, as well as the reappearance of some issues from last year, McVay felt the time was right to move on from Akers.

According to FOX Sports sideline reporter Laura Okmin, Akers wasn’t adhering to the two main tenets of the Rams culture defined by McVay: do what’s expected of you and be responsible.

“We had some good conversations,” McVay told reporters this week. “I don’t want to be too specific with some of the conversations that Cam and I have had, but I’m very pleased with the clarity that has been provided to him and (agent) David Mulugheta as to why we are here. we are.

“You don’t want to look back on some of the things that happened, but based on some of the things that we think are best, it’s going to be in the best interest to be able to give him an opportunity.”

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Akers finished his career with the Rams with 1,443 total yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. He is in the final year of his rookie contract which will pay him $1.43 million. At 24 years old, it appears he has some gas left in the tank if placed in the right operating pattern.

However, Akers didn’t set the world on fire in his only action this season, finishing with 29 yards on 22 carries and a score in a Week 1 win over the Seattle Seahawks. And he’s missed 18 games since he’s been on the team. league due to injury.

Landing in Minnesota gives Akers a second chance to establish himself in the league, in an offense he knows intimately and playing for a coach who knows his abilities.

Eric D. Williams has been reporting on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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